Brody Health and Fitness

The Ten Commandments of Healthy Bones

Healthy Bones 26.8
Your skeleton is your frame; any sturdy structure needs a healthy frame and the human body is no exception. Strong bones, the components of a strong skeleton, are determined by their density: the higher the bone density, the stronger the skeleton. Weak bones are the result of osteoporosis, a condition where the bones ("osteo" in Latin) become progressively more porous ("poros" in Latin). Osteo + poros = "osteoporosis", much of which is triggered by a poor diet, lack of exercise and lack of exposure to sunlight.

Not only karate experts who smash bricks and cinderblocks with their fists and elbows need high bone density. We all do. Strong bones can mean the difference of weathering a slip on a wet floor or breaking a hip, Heaven forbid. Seniors and expectant mothers are two populations that must especially pay attention to bone health, but with the increase of sugary beverages and junk food, more and more children are coming down with juvenile osteoporosis. 

It's our responsibility to ourselves and to our families to do all we can to promote healthy bones and bone density and to prevent osteoporosis. With that in mind, here are some myth-free do's and dont's of healthy bones:

The Five Do's of Healthy Bones:

  1. Eat plenty of calcium-rich foods - sardines, almonds, leafy greens, yogurt, yellow cheese and chia seeds are great sources.
  2. Soak your beans before cooking them, then cook them in fresh water. That will rid the beans of the phytates that bleed calcium.
  3. Eat plenty of protein - I suggest 0.8 gr/kg body weight for people with a non-vigorous lifestyle, and 1.0 gr/kg body weight for athletes and people who perform heavy labor.
  4. Engage at least three times a week in weight-lifting or other resistance training. The more pressure we put on our bones, the more we build bone density. Kneading dough with your hands is an example of a wonderful exercise for bone density. In bodyweight training, pushups are the king, especially doing pushups on your fists.
  5. Get plenty of Vitamin D and expose yourself to sunshine frequently; 30 minutes a day is lovely for people with average skin color; those with lighter skin color bust do less, and those with darker skin color will need more.

The Five Dont's of Healthy Bones

  1. Avoid low-calorie and fad diets. A body starved of calories will bleed out calcium and lose bone density and strength. If you want to lose weight, do it by increasing your exercise and making the right food choices, and not by starving yourself.
  2. Avoid salt! Sodium is calcium's public enemy #1. That means avoiding salty foods such as manufactured foods, fast & junk food, and restaurant foods.
  3. Carbonated soft drinks, especially colas, contain phosphoric acid which increase the calcium that's secreted in one's urine. Stick with water and seltzer, both of which will save your calcium and save you loads of calories. Don't forget, the diet colas might have zero calories, but they're horrible for your bones.
  4. Cut your caffeine/coffee intake way back - you lose about 6 milligrams of calcium for every 100 milligrams of  caffeine you ingest. Since an 8-ounce cup of black coffee has about 150 milligrams of caffeine, it'll rob your body of 9 milligrams of calcium. Don't forget that many soft drinks (infamous #3 directly above) also contain high amounts of caffeine.
  5. Do not buy processed or smoked meats, period! In addition to a load of unhealthy chemicals they contain, manufacturers inject them with loads of calcium-bleeding phosphates.

Follow the above "Ten Commandments" the best you can, and you'll be much stronger. We want you to be able to dance in good health at the weddings of your great-grandchildren. A bottle of cola with a smoked meat sandwich isn't worth losing your bone health over. Swap it for  a vigorous workout followed by a green smoothie with almonds and chia seeds. Let's all say a resounding "No to osteoporosis!" Every blessing, LB 


Body-Soul Harmony

Body-Soul Harmony
People who don't know me often say, "Hey, you don't look like a fitness trainer! Why don't you stick to being a rabbi?"

Two answers to the above comment: First, I'm not a YouTube trainer who wants to show his my six-pack abs and flaunt what he can do but what you can't. Second, what much of the rabbinical world either ignores, forgot, or never learned, coaching people in physical well-being is an integral part of spiritual leadership. Look at these prime examples from our sages:

  1. Our forefather Jacob out-wrestled an angel. He lifted boulders that ten shepherds together barely lifted.
  2. Each of Jacob's 12 sons was an expert in martial arts (see Malbim of Parshat Vayichi).
  3. Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel, who was both a juggler and a gymnast who could do pushups on his thumbs alone (see tractate Succa 53a)
  4. Rebbe Shimon ben Lakish (Reish Lakish) could broad jump the Jordan River; in addition, he was a former gladiator who was deadly in hand-to-hand combat.
  5. Maimonides was an expert in physical fitness who even codified the principles of health, nutrition and fitness within religious law. 

Brody Health and Wellness adheres to the timeless health advice of the Rambam, which promotes harmony of body and soul, in what we feel is true holistic health. What good is a perfect figure or 21" biceps if you suffer from anxiety and depression?

In my years of athletic experience, training in all different types of sports from running to weight training to wrestling and combat arts, I went through a vicious cycle of approaching what I thought was my peak fitness, then suffering a big setback of an injury or flu. I was repeatedly burning myself out rather than building myself up. Even while learning to become a fitness trainer and health coach, most of my teachers were teaching me the same methods that didn't lead to the results I was looking for.

With Hashem's help, I came to the conclusion that true fitness is the optimum state of body-soul well-being, when physical and emotional ills disappear and a person functions at his or her best. This is opposed to the person who wins the marathon, then spends the next two weeks recuperating in the hospital. With body-soul fitness, your goal is not to run the 42 kilometers, to build the massive triceps or to become the aerobic-dance queen who is so carbo-starved after her workout that she eats twice the carbs that she burned. Your goal is to feel good so that you can serve Hashem more efficiently and happily...

I came to the conclusion that genuine holistic fitness is functional fitness. Functional fitness means that you function effectively: despite your age, you can run, walk, climb and lift as you need to. It also means that your body is free of disease and your soul and emotions are free of their diseases - worry, anger, anxiety, worry, depression, jealousy and other negative emotions.

Our holistic approach addresses diet, disease prevention, exercise and lifestyle, is therefore the epitome of fitness, the true  balance of a healthy body in perfect harmony with a healthy soul. Do them both a favor and have a lovely Shabbat!


Introducing "Strength and Serenity"

BikerFeelingGood

The young man in the above photo cannot run 100 meters in 10-seconds flat. He also can't dead-lift three-times his body weight. But, he looks and feels great. He has fantastic posture, agility, flexibility and a wonderful disposition. His smile comes from deep down inside because his soul is just as healthy as his body is. Both have everything they need and neither suffers from deficiencies.

You can be just like him, with a little fine-tuning of your lifestyle. Maybe that sounds unrealistic, but it won't cost you a cent to try. Just stick with us. Now for the drum-roll...

It's my pleasure, privilege and dream come-true to introduce you to "Strength and Serenity". As for a formal introduction, "Strength and Serenity" is the blog of BrodyHealth.com, the website of my new and independent venture, Brody Health and Wellness in Ashdod, Israel. Drawing on my unique background and on the credentials that I've acquired through decades of my own personal journey in life, "Brody Health and Wellness" in general and "Strength and Serenity" in particular take the truest approach to holistic health - all aspects of overall health and wellness including body, mind and soul. Our goal is for people of all backgrounds to be healthy and happy - it's that simple.

Some consider me a weird hybrid of Orthodox Jewish rabbi, certified health coach and fitness trainer. When you think about it, my credentials are really basic prerequisites for holistic-health and wellness-enhancement coaching. The opposite should be weird - a health coach and/or fitness trainer who is unaware or untrained in the workings of the human soul. Nothing has a more dramatic effect on overall health than the soul does, even more than diet and exercise.

If you want to feel happy and healthy while enhancing all aspects of your life including the way you look, the level of efficiency that you perform your daily tasks and your overall positivity and optimistic outlook on life, you've come to the right place. If you're just looking for 22" biceps or a bikini bod that you can flaunt at the beach, you won't like me or my blog - we're not for you. To be truly happy, you must be close to the Creator. To be close to the Creator, you must be humble. Those who flaunt their bodies are neither. Sure, we'll help you build a strong core for the sake of your functional fitness so that you can perform your mission in life much more efficiently. But, we're not going to teach you and goal-orient you toward six-pack abs. We regard the human body as a gift from the Almighty that houses the human soul, that tiny spark of His very Divine essence withing each of us. The body is sanct, not a vulgar piece of meat.

If you're still reading, stick with us - you'll love it here.

At the navigation links at the top of this webpage, you can read all about me and our services at Brody Health and Wellness. See our disclaimer, where I tell you what I am not, as well as our contact info. Feel free to stay in touch. We invite you to sign up for our free newsletter, which you can do at the right-hand toolbar of this site.

We welcome you to "Strength and Serenity", with blessings that you attain the strength and serenity you yearn for. With the grace and guidance of G-d, we're here to help you do just that.